Muse: the brain sensing headband

Category: 

Description of App: 

Manufacturer's Description:
DO MORE WITH YOUR MIND.

For use with Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband, available at
http://tinyurl.com/nvh9hxg

Learn to meditate and improve your meditation practise with Muse: The Brain Sensing Headband. While you meditate Muse uses brain sensing technology to determine whether your mind is calm or active and translates those signals into guiding sounds that you select. Choose from soundscapes that include a beach, rainforest, a desert or even ambient music. When your mind is wandering the sounds intensify and when you're calm you'll hear peaceful sounds.

After your session review your data, set goals and build a deeply rewarding meditation practise.

FEATURES
* helpful guidance in every session
* easy to understand results
* set weekly goals to challenge yourself
* track your progress the long term
* feel a difference in only three minutes a day

Compatibility: Requires iOS 8 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

What's New in Version 7.0

EXPANDING OUR COLLECTIONS
This latest update to Muse expands your meditation collections library with new exercises from Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey. As part of the faculty at University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Health, the Leveys were an inspiration for leaders at NASA, Google, the Clinton Global Initiative, and more. This update also includes a new collection from Dr. Deepak Chopra, author of 22 New York Times Best Sellers.

Shift the focus of your attitude and attention toward a deeper more heartfelt quality of mindfulness, gratitude, curiosity, wonder, and compassion in Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey’s new “Heart-Centered Mindfulness” collection, containing 5 new meditation exercises:

1. The Wonder of Breathing
2. Breathing through the Heart
3. Heartfelt Mindfulness
4. Cultivating gratitude
5. Receiving and Radiating

If you’re a fan of Dr. Deepak Chopra - author of 22 New York Times Best Sellers - you’ll be happy to know we worked with him to adapt his teachings to the context of Muse. Simply choose the ”Deepak Guides Muse” collection to access 3 new exercises:

1. Our Essential Nature
2. Observe the Breath
3. Inner Quiet.

MEDITATE WITHOUT A HEADBAND
Now you can meditate with Muse even when you don’t have your headband within reach. Launch Muse, start a session, and meditate while listening to a Muse soundscape. Make time for yourself and keep your daily Muse streak going strong. Simply select “meditate without a headband” from within the Muse app and enjoy your meditation break.

My Description:
This app, in conjunction with the hardware, gives beginning meditators crucial realtime feedback, and metrics to chart their progress. Gamification elements like challenges, milestones, scoring and other data, help establish maintain and build regular practice.

The Process:
A session always starts with a brief calibration activity to help Muse learn what your brain looks like while it is relaxed. The results are then used as a baseline for the rest of the session.

Then, as you try and focus on your breath through the rest of the session, the app provides feedback about your brain state. You are in a virtual environment in the app: a beach, city park, desert, rainforest (my favorite) or ambient music. You will hear winds pick up when your brain is more active, and those winds drop away when your mind is calm again. If you are calm for several seconds at a time, birds land and tweet softly. In this way, the app helps you learn to develop the right kind of focus, and tells you when your mind has wandered. You will bring your mind back to focusing on your breath many many times during a session, and that's fine. The act of noticing that your mind has wandered and returning it to the object of focus is the actual work of meditation.

Session Scoring:
One second active: 0 points
One second neutral, somewhere between active and calm: 1 point
One second calm: 3 points.
The app keeps track of all your session data so you can chart your progress over time.

Apple Watch Support: 

No

Version: 

7.0

Free or Paid: 

Free

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone

iOS Version: 

10.0.2

Accessibility Comments: 

I originally wrote this review about version 1.6.2 of the app, when it was known as Calm. Back in January, I wrote InteraXon a long letter detailing my interest in their technology and in meditation in general, and detailing my disappointment in discovering that their app was almost 100% inaccessible. Thankfully, they extended my money back guarantee a few months, which gave them time to redesign version 2 of the app and make sure it was accessible. I cannot applaud them enough for their change of heart and for making sure this technology is accessible to as many people as possible!

A few versions on, several buttons were not labeled and there was no way to read the battery status of the connected headband. InteraXon have since addressed all outstanding accessibility problems, including implementing a battery percentage during sessions. Bravo!

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads all page elements.

Button Labeling: 

All buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver and is easy to navigate and use.

Other Comments: 

This app works in conjunction with Muse, the first lab-grade Electroencephalography device for home users. My review of the hardware is here:
http://www.applevis.com/reviews/bluetooth-headsets/muse-brain-censing-he...

More questions about the hardware or this app? Check out
the Support and FAQ:
http://www.choosemuse.com/faq-support/

Developer's Twitter Username: 

@choosemuse